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Friday, November 10, 2017

Cardinal wants debate on ordination of married men....and more

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Marx for debate on ordination of "viri probati"
Even Pope Francis is already talking about it: Cardinal Reinhard Marx wants a broad debate on the ordination of married men. In this context, then another topic would be on the agenda.

The chairman of the German Bishops' Conference, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, considers a discussion about new approaches to the priesthood legitimate. So the opportunity to ordain proven married men (viri probati) to priests, should be thoroughly thought out and discussed "over the whole range" of the problem, said Marx on Friday evening in Munich at the autumn assembly of the Regional Committee of Catholics in Bavaria.

In a keynote speech, the Viennese pastoral theologian, Paul Zulehner expressed his conviction that Pope Francis will allow new forms of the priesthood. "We'll live to see it if no one shoots or poisons the pope." At the same time, the theologian called on Catholics to "step on the feet" of their bishops. It is "wrong to subordinate the celebration of the Eucharist to the celibacy of priests".

"No movement" in women's issue
Marx further explained that Pope Francis would talk to advisors about the ordination of married people. But it is not that there is a direct impulse from Rome to tackle the issue now. Therefore, he could "promise nothing" in this regard. The cardinal pointed out that in this context the women's question would come onto the table. But he sees "no movement". He had not heard so far from the Pope's commission of inquiry into female deacons.

At the same time Marx affirmed experiments with new forms of church leadership. These would not only take place in his Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. But such models should not be tried oout without or against the priest. Nor does he think anything of priestless parishes, said the Cardinal. "Eucharists must be celebrated." In addition, no quality reductions should be accepted in ecclesiastical actions. "Where we act, it must be good." Those who only occasionally came into contact with the church expected that.

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Cardinal Müller criticizes Papal decision

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Pope Francis wants to give the episcopal conferences more authority over liturgical translations. He receives criticism from one of his former closest associates, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller.

Curial Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller opposes greater powers of the Episcopal Conferences in liturgical matters. In a recent interview, he has criticised the Pope's decision to give more freedom to the national episcopal conferences in translating liturgical texts. The liturgy cannot and should not separate, said the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to the Passauer Neuen Presse on Thursday. Thus, in the translation, attention must be paid to accuracy and fidelity of the content as well as to the actual implementation within the spirit and culture of the target language. "The last authority in the case of doubt" could therefore not lie with the episcopal conferences, emphasises Müller.

The Cardinal pointed to several experiences that translators relied by the Bishops often diluted the biblical texts on the pretext of better comprehensibility. If the powers of the Episcopal Conferences were now increased, it was to be feared that the unity of the Catholic Church would be destroyed in faith, confession and prayer, Müller said. Muller cites "highly demanding teachings" such as the vicarious atoning death of Jesus, the birth of Jesus from the Virgin Mary, the physical resurrection of Jesus or the gift of his true flesh and blood under the species of bread and wine. In some countries, these and other truths have already broken down into ethical appeals and thus been stripped of their Catholic salvific reality.

The background to the discussion is a dispute between Francis and Cardinal Robert Sarah, head of the Congregation for the Liturgy. Francis wants to strengthen the Episcopal Conferences with the Pope's decree, "Magnum principium" ("The Important Principle"), giving them more responsibility in translating liturgical texts.

Francis does not shake faith
In the same interview Müller defended Pope Francis from heresy charges . "There can only be a question of heresy if a Catholic persistently denies a revealed truth of faith that the Church has made binding," said the Cardinal. For popes and bishops, this would be the case if they presented to the faithful a doctrine with the highest authority which contradicted the Word of God in Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition, and the dogmatic decisions of ecumenical councils so far. This is undoubtedly not the case in the few controversial passages of the Papal letter "Amoris laetitia", stressed Müller.

Francis never wanted to shake the foundations of the Catholic faith or modernise the teaching of Christ as if it were outdated, the Cardinal said. Rather, it is about how to help in a pastoral way people in very difficult marital and often tragic family circumstances. At the end of this, the full reconciliation with God and the Church in the sacrament of penance and then participation in communion could also take place.

When asked about his own future, Müller said that he hopes to continue to serve the church in word and deed as well as witness and prayer with God's help. When asked if he would stay in Rome, he replied, "Man thinks, God is guiding." But a cardinal who is not yet emeritus or who does not lead a bishopric as a local bishop or otherwise exercises an office in the universal church, has a duty of residence in Rome. This is because he belongs to the closest advisory body of the Pope. In July, Francis had not extended term of office of Muller, who had led the Congregation of the Faith for five years.

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